An Omagh motor trader has been fined £500 at Omagh Magistrates’ Court and ordered to pay two customers compensation of £800 and £1740 respectively.
In a case brought by the Trading Standards Service of the Department for the Economy, Mr. Kieran Patrick Maguire (26) of Glendore Park, Omagh pleaded guilty to five charges under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 in respect of advertising and selling a 2005 Toyota Corolla and a 2009 Skoda Superb to two different consumers in 2015.
Maguire, who advertised the vehicles on the Gumtree and Done Deal websites, falsely described the vehicles in respect of mileages, previous ownership and MOT histories.
A 2005 Toyota Corolla purchased by a Fintona consumer had its mileage reduced from 154,773 miles to 80,000 miles and was described as having one lady owner, genuine miles and service history. The car had multiple owners and an incorrect MOT record supplied.
A 2009 Skoda Superb sold to a Newtownabbey consumer had its mileage reduced from 277,385 to 118,000 miles. The car was advertised with full Skoda history which was shown to be incorrect during the investigation.
Both vehicles had substantial mechanical breakdowns and the purchasers incurred expenditure which was reflected in compensation awarded by the Judge in his decision.
Eamon McPartland of the Trading Standards Service said: “Car dealers have a responsibility to ensure that all descriptions applied to vehicles are truthful and are not misleading to consumers. Traders must therefore provide consumers with all material information regarding a vehicle. It is the duty of the trader to ensure all important checks are conducted on vehicles and that all important information is made known to the potential buyer to allow them to make an informed decision on whether or not to buy the car.”
Trading Standards offers the following advice when buying a used car:
- Buy from a reputable dealer: Vehicles may cost more when bought from a main dealer but they will have carried out checks on the vehicle’s history before offering cars for sale.
- Bring someone with you that knows about cars: Excessive wear and tear on the driver’s seat, steering wheel and foot pedals may be inconsistent with the indicated mileage.
- Ensure that you see all of the relevant original paperwork: The logbook, the car’s service history and MOT certificates. With this information, you can contact the previous owners of the vehicle as well as the garages that carried out the servicing work to ask questions about the history of the vehicle. Everything should be present and correct. If it is not, simply walk away from the deal.
- Carry out an online vehicle mileage and accident check.
- If you know the registration and chassis numbers of a vehicle, you can contact the Driver Vehicle Agency to enquire about the recorded mileage of the vehicle at its previous MOTs. The chassis number is visible on the bottom left corner of most car windscreens.
- If buying from a “private” seller, get proof of the seller’s name and address.
- Finally, never buy a car from the side of a road and pay cash to somebody don’t know.
Anyone who believes they have been sold goods which have been falsely described should contact Consumerline on 0300 123 6262.